A fun bit of speculation from Reuters Breaking Views posits a motive behind Bill Ackman’s big bet on Fortune Brands, the maker of bourbon, golf balls and bathroom fixtures: Time to separate those disparate businesses, and maybe sell them off to other firms for a healthy profit.
Pointing out that whiskey, golf equipment and faucets offer few opportunities for business synergy, Reuters says that the companies may hold additional shareholder value as separate enterprises. Furthermore, a company like Diageo, which makes other spirits, might make a suitable buyer of Fortune’s two powerful bourbon brands: Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.
Ackman’s still got plenty of fight in him. The same day he ramped up his stake in Fortune Brands, he also expanded his position in clothing retailer J. C. Penney. Mere days before, he looked ready to profit on his high-stakes investment in Stuyvesant Town. Credit the guy for spotting opportunity in any number of unlikely places — apartment complexes, women’s clothing or whiskey.